There are many reasons that fans keep coming back to Star Trek. For some people, it’s the great characters; compelling figures like Kirk and Picard show us what the best of humanity can be and serve as truly inspirational figures. For other fans, it’s all about the complex stories. Star Trek has spent decades using sci-fi as a kind of lens to help us exam big topics such as racism and nationalism. The fun never ends when an episode ends because fans have a ton of things to discuss and debate among themselves. However, there are some fans that are all about the starships that populate the franchise. The original Enterprise, for instance, is a thing of beauty: we could hardly fault fans that tuned in every week simply to see this sleek ship boldly go where no man had gone before.
In fact, fans love these ships so much that debates sometimes get pretty intense. What’s the subject of debate? Simple: fans try to determine what the most powerful ships in the franchise are, and with a show that regularly involves time travelers, dimensional visitors, and ancient alien races, it can be tough to figure this out. How can this debate be settled? Well, it’s tough to get hardcore fans to agree to much of anything. But we’re throwing our hats in the ring with our definitive guide to powerful ships in Trek. Ready to end the nerd debates once and for all? Keep reading to discover which ships in the Star Trek Universe are the most powerful.
Arguably, the most powerful threat Kirk ever faced (aside from a thing that may or may not have been God) was V’Ger. Once upon a time, this was the humble Voyager space probe. However, a planet full of machines (which some fans speculate may have been a Borg planet) made V’Ger into something mighty.
In fact, we never see the outer limits of this thing’s power. We know it can vaporize ships at will, and it’s also capable of creating perfect copies of Kirk’s crew. And it seems highly likely that if Kirk and Spock hadn’t managed to help it evolve, this thing could have wiped out all life on Earth!
19 BORG CUBE
Over the years, we’ve seen many different variants of Borg vessels. However, the most iconic and powerful of these vessels remains the Borg Cube. What makes this ship so dangerous? It’s the perfect combination of power and adaptability that makes them feared throughout the galaxy.
The Borg Cube’s power is undeniable -- a single ship wiped out 39 Starfleet vessels at Wolf 359 without breaking a sweat. And their ability to adapt to any form of attack means that even when someone does create an innovative solution, it won’t work for long. Is it too much to hope we might see these foes again in a future movie or TV show?
For some of the ships on this list, we don’t have much information. Nonetheless, we can determine that the ship is packing a lot of power, and that’s the case with this big hitter from the far future: the Enterprise-J.
This is a ship far into the future of the Trek timeline. Captain Archer is transported to this ship briefly by a Temporal Agent. Since we know how advanced ships like the Enterprise-D and Enterprise-E are, we can only assume that this iteration of the famous vessel is packing a lot of power. Here’s hoping we see more of it in action some day!
17 WHALE PROBE
On a list of “most powerful” ships, there is an obvious question to ask: how do you define powerful? It’s not always a matter of a strong hull or scary phasers. Sometimes, what makes a ship powerful is that, as nearly as anyone can tell, is that it cannot truly be stopped!
That’s the case with the alien probe ship in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (also known as “the one with the whales”). This ship was not malicious, but its sheer proximity to Earth threatened all life on the planet. And seemingly the only way to stop it was to go back in time and bring back the one thing it wanted: whales!
16 TIN MAN
Part of what makes Star Trek: The Next Generation so cool is that it helped to redefine what we considered life. For instance, one episode introduced us to Tin Man (more properly known as Gomtuu). And this creature blurred the line between “ship” and “life form.”
At first, this ship just seems big and mysterious. However, when it wants to, it’s capable of destroying powerful Romulan warbirds with a single thought. While we never see the upper range of this strange ship’s powers, it seems like it could be a major threat to the galaxy if it so chose to be.
15 THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE
We don’t see too many ships on this list from Captain Kirk’s era. That makes sense, after all: the ships only got bigger and stronger after The Original Series was over. However, one ship definitely makes the list: the so-called “Doomsday Machine.”
This ship kept things nice and simple. It destroys planets and uses them as fuel for its journey through space. And for any ships that get in the way? They become just another cosmic snack! It took the self detonation of a starship’s warp engines to finally stop this menace; otherwise, it may have devoured the galaxy!
14 VOTH CITY SHIP
Is it a ship? Is it a planet? Well... why not both? The next ship on our list is the Voth City Ship. As the name implies, though, this is far more than just another vessel. Instead, this is a ship large and powerful enough to house an entire civilization!
We don’t see this ship do anything crazy with phasers or photon torpedoes. However, it is powerful and advanced enough to instantly cut off Voyager’s communications and even cut its main power. Plus, the sheer size of this ship is amazing: Voyager looks like an ant compared to this giant vessel.
In some ways, time-traveling ships have the “cheat codes” for inclusion on this list. After all, your most modest modern automobile would seem like a powerhouse to someone living a hundred years ago. And that’s why ships like The Aeon, hailing from the 29th century, seem so powerful!
This ship’s conventional weapons are not necessarily that impressive. However, the sheer fact that it is a time vessel makes it dangerously powerful. Going back to the right place at the right time (so to speak) would allow the pilot to completely alter all of reality in order to benefit their own future selves.
In many ways, The Defiant was Star Trek’s version of the Millennium Falcon. In fact, the Falcon’s description fits this other ship nicely: “she may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.” And many of this ship’s best assets are hidden away.
For instance, it has special ablative armor to help it last longer in combat. And its phaser cannons, combined with speed and maneuverability, help it to take on both big ships and smaller fighters. And it is the only Starfleet vessel allowed to rock a cloaking device, making it a supreme “hit and run” threat to the Dominion and other enemies.
11 FUTURE ENTERPRISE-D
Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation were likely looking for the Enterprise-D on this list. Well, it’s here, but not quite as you expected it: we’re giving the nod to the future ship as seen in the episode "All Good Things". And while we only have hints as to its power, they are very strong hints.
The ship has a third nacelle, possible indicating how powerful the engines are (remember, this baby can somehow go past warp 10). And we see the ship cut right through a powerful Klingon vessel with a single phaser beam -- it seems like Admiral Riker spent his twilight years turning this thing into a powerhouse.
In the Star Trek reboot movies, everything is bigger and tougher than in The Original Series. The Enterprise itself is huge (its size rivals the Enterprise-D), so the threats had to get even scarier. The first big threat our rebooted heroes face is the Narada, also known as “Nero’s really big ship.”
From various scenes (including deleted scenes), we see that this ship is strong enough to take on fleets of Starfleet ships as well as a fleet of Klingon ships, and the quasi-canonical Star Trek comics established that this giant vessel had some scary future tech, including Borg weaponry! In the hands of someone like Nero, this was a huge threat to galactic peace.
For better or for worse, Star Trek: Nemesis did its best to channel Wrath of Khan. That meant having a cool ship for the Enterprise-E to go to- to-toe with. The ship we got was quite impressive: the Scimitar, a Reman ship design used by everyone’s favorite evil Picard clone Shinzon.
This ship was absolutely massive. Its raw firepower and sturdy hull was made to fight off Federation and Romulan ships alike, and that’s exactly what it did. Furthermore, the ship had a special biogenic pulse weapon that was capable of destroying entire planets’ populations in a quick and efficient fashion.
8 BREEN WARSHIPS
Some of the ships on this list are more like one-trick ponies. However, that doesn’t matter much when the trick is really good! And that’s exactly what the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans discovered when they faced the Breen warships in combat for the first time.
The main claim to fame for the Breen is that their ships have special energy dissipators. This means that with a single shot, they can disable a ship’s shields, weapons, and engines. Only Klingon ships were unaffected, and this eventually let the Federation figure out a workaround. Until then, though, the Breen were basically unstoppable!
7 SPECIES 8472
In some cases, we mostly understand how powerful a ship is when we see it go head to head with other powerful ships. That’s the case with the ships of Species 8472 -- they may look unimpressive at first glance. However, they were able to present one of the only real threats to the Borg!
These ships are fully organic and were able to fight off both Borg assimilation and the Borg’s ability to adapt. The result? These ships can destroy a Borg cube in under a minute. Considering that cubes completely completely wreck entire fleets, this accomplishment speaks for itself.
6 KRENIM TEMPORAL WEAPON
Many of the ships on this list weren’t necessarily designed for battle or to be used as weapons. Nonetheless, they have enough power (along with technical bells and whistles) to pose a major threat. This next ship, though, is pure weapon: in fact, it’s the Krenim Temporal Weapon!
This ship has enough conventional weapons to fight off small fleets of attackers. However, its primary purpose is to make adjustments to the timeline. This was used to deadly effect, and the ship helped to wipe several civilizations from the galaxy completely! If Captain Janeway wasn’t able to destroy this ship, it may have eventually destroyed the Federation.
When you’re thinking about powerful Federation ships, Voyager is probably not the first ship you imagine. After all, it’s not the biggest, nor the fastest. And it doesn’t have the most power. Nonetheless, we simply cannot ignore its track record.
This ship and her crew survived for seven years in the Delta Quadrant without any kind of real assistance from Starfleet. They survived encounters with primitive races like the Kazon as well as heavy hitters like the Borg and Species 8472. In fact, Voyager’s triumphs over the Borg mean that this ship on its own was able to do more than a fleet of Starfleet ships could against this powerful enemy.
The Relativity is a close cousin to another ship on this list: The Aeon. Both ships hail from the 29th century, which is basically half a millennium into the future from the time of Captain Janeway and like the smaller Aeon, The Relativity is a timeship.
This ship is presumably packing some serious conventional weaponry. However, its main weapon is its ability to beam people to and from basically any moment in temporal history. In the right hands, this is a powerful tool for scientific discovery. In the wrong hands, though, it’s a completely ominous weapon that could alter galactic history.
For the most part, Starfleet isn’t known for its combat ships. Sure, they have powerful vessels that can throw down, but most of them are designed to explore first and shoot later. That isn’t the case for the next ship on our list, though: the Prometheus.
This top-secret ship is stronger and faster than most Starfleet ships. However, its real strength comes from two factors: its ability to separate into three parts (the “multi-vector assault mode”) and its high degree of automation. This means that a relatively small crew can take on just about any threat to the Federation, all without breaking a sweat.
There are many ships that are on this list for subtle reasons: they have special abilities and tricks up their sleeves to help them stand out from the pack. That’s not the case with the USS Vengeance, though -- this ship is simply pure power!
It was built in secret by Admiral Marcus, who himself was involved in Section 31. This secret division had the right to sanction any enemies of the Federation, and the Vengeance has enough firepower and shielding to make good on that threat. Fortunately, the Enterprise crew was able to defeat the giant ship through some creative strategies. And bombs. Lots of bombs.
1 SWARM SHIPS
Is bigger always better? Not really: it depends on how you use it! Get your mind out of the gutter, cadet, as we are still talking about ships in Star Trek. And as the swarm of enemy ships in Star Trek Beyond shows us, even a tiny vessel is capable of posing an enormous threat.
It was this same swarm of ships that destroyed the Enterprise; Kirk’s mighty vessel never stood a chance. And these tiny ships very nearly destroyed the massive starbase Yorktown as well. It’s good for the galaxy that Captain Kirk found their one weakness: The Beastie Boys.